Los Angeles, CA family law attorney Joanne Ratinoff talks about the mediation process in terms of family law.
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What is the mediation process in terms of family law? Its when two parties agree to meet with a third party neutral, the mediator. I do not as a mediator force people to settle. We’ll explore, we’ll talk about issues, if the parties agree that they can resolve an issue that’s fine with me. I don’t push them in any way. I also don’t tell them necessarily what a court would do or what a judge would do unless they ask me. Because they have a lot of freedom to make their own agreement and whether I think it’s appropriate or I think a judge would make the deal that they’re constructing for themselves is not for me to day. I don’t see that as my role as a mediator. As long as its not illegal. I have to tell them when they want to do something that’s not going to pass muster.
And then, we will write up the agreement and I encourage both parties in a mediation process to then take the agreement to their own independent lawyers to have it checked. Because I cannot, as a neutral, I cannot give either one of them advice or way well, you know, that’s a really bad deal for you, you shouldn’t – that’s not my role. And so, I encourage them to have the agreement that they’ve negotiated independently verified or checked out by their own counsel. If they have to come back to the negotiation table after they’ve spoken with their lawyers, so be it and we work on it.
And, of course, any issues that can’t be resolved they have to either decide are they going to go the adversarial process or how else they’re going to compromise those remaining issues.